About Robyn Roste

My name is Robyn Roste and I'm a freelance writer in Abbotsford, BC. I help purpose-driven businesses translate their heart message into words so they can create meaningful connections with their customers.

Wondering about a Literary Agent? Here are the Benefits

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor.

While it’s not required to have an agent to get a traditional book deal, most writers recommend having one.

Benefits of Having a Literary Agent

Benefits of having a literary agent

Since they’re up-to-date with the latest book publishing trends and have in-depth market knowledge, literary agents are positioned to handle the business end of writing—allowing you to focus on the writing end of writing.

I met an author who told me how he got a book deal without an agent. I’m glad to meet someone who had a positive publishing experience this way but I have questions.

  • Why did he skip this step?
  • What made him want to pursue traditional publishing on his own?
  • Would he do it again for his next book?

Free download: Is It time to write your book?

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next then this is the right worksheet for you. First, I’ll guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing. Then I’ll help you determine why you’re writing a book, decide on your theme and genre and schedule writing time.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by signing up here. Just pop your email address into the form below. Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Here are a few ways having a literary agent benefits a writer

Legitimate agents work on commission so they don’t get paid unless you do. Talk about common interests! You can rest assured they have your best interests at heart.

Agents have a strong knowledge of the publishing business and have access to major publishing houses. They know they right people working in the right places and can get those doors open quicker than you can.

They read a lot and know what sells. Literary agents know good writing, they know the market and they know what editors are looking for. They know what you need to do to get a book deal.

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. Recommended!

And my personal favourite

Think of a literary agent as a connector. They connect authors with the appropriate publisher, negotiate the best deals possible and mediate any issues between the writer and editor that may arise during the book publishing process.

If you want a literary agent take some time researching the different ones out there and make a list of ones you think are a good fit for you and your writing. You find a literary agent through querying your book. While there aren’t really “types” of literary agents they all have different areas of expertise and preferred genre.

Obtaining a literary agent isn’t necessary if you’re self-publishing a book. You may consider hiring a publicist or business coach, but these are different roles than what a literary agent plays.

Other posts you’ll find helpful

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. Highly recommended!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. Highly recommended!
it's not required to have a literary agent to get a traditional book deal

Resonance | Powerful Platform Building Secrets for Writers

There’s a lot of talk about platform building in the writing world but not a lot of talk about resonance. Yeah, they’re kind of the same but also different.

Resonance | Powerful Platform Building Secrets for Writers

Platform can be interpreted as a numbers game, which it *is* but also isn’t. Resonance is the next level of platform and influence—it’s the ripple effect of your message making waves.

Going viral, if you will.

Resonance is your platform reverberating

I first heard the term resonance applied in a platform-building context from the Novel Marketing podcast. Fascinating stuff. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Author Media

“Platform can be a sign of resonance, but it is not how you make resonance happen. Resonance is the horse. Platform is the cart the horse drags. Don’t put the cart in front of the horse.”


Author Media

The big secret about resonance is it’s an upside down model.

You, the writer, serve others.

You write for them.

In fact, you write what they want to read.

It makes sense when you think about it, but so many people write for themselves, and then are confused or frustrated when others don’t resonate with it.

When something connects with readers, they respond with engagement. This is SO important in platform building.

Numbers are one thing, but they don’t mean much if your followers don’t respond to what you write. And it means so much more if they share it with their friends.

Here are some reasons people are most likely to share something

  • If they have a strong reaction to it
  • If they have a positive emotional response to it
  • They are more likely to share if they feel inspired by it
  • If they are surprised by it
  • If they find it practical and useful
  • People are more likely to share something if they think it will help someone

The degree of virality changes based on the level your audience amplifies your message. If you connect, they’ll engage. And that’s resonance.

Your Writer's Statement Free Worksheet

If you can get clear on why you’re writing, it will become a beacon of light showing you the way forward.

Download the Your Writer’s Statement worksheet from my resource library.

Pop your email address in the form below, confirm your subscription to my email list and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in, navigate to the “writing” section and look for the worksheet titled, “Create a Writer’s Statement Worksheet.”

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Influencer marketing and resonance

There’s a corner of the Internet that makes money directly from their platform, they’re called influencers.

But even they can’t get far without resonance.

An influencer is someone who has an engaged following of people who pay close attention to their thoughts and opinions.

A true influencer can post about a great new product they’ve discovered and they have built so much trust with their audience that they rush out to also purchase the same product. These people have achieved the “three Rs” of influence marketing.

  • Reach
  • Relevance
  • Resonance

They are given this amazing level of influence because their audience trusts them enough to act on their recommendations.

And for success here, resonance means more than platform numbers.

Elements in a well-rounded author platform

How this relates to freelance writing

Alright so maybe you’re not interested in building a traditional author platform because you’re a freelance writer.

And influencer marketing is also not your jam.

You might be thinking you don’t need to write for your audience or readers.

I get that, I see it all the time!

Resonance and relevance

But here’s what else I see, and please don’t take this personally.

When a copywriter writes for themselves rather than their clients, the client can feel it even if they can’t put their finger on why. But I’ll tell you why, it’s because they copywriter puts themselves into the work rather than writing in their client’s voice.

It fails to resonate.

When a journalist writes for themselves rather than their readers, it either falls flat or it comes off as a passion project. Because it’s self-serving rather than community service.

It fails to connect.

When a blogger writes for themselves rather than their readers, they will stop reading. Plain and simple. This is because it comes off as a journal or some other type of autobiography.

Personal stories need to point to a larger narrative, one people can relate to and see themselves in.

Quick tips for creating resonance with your audience

  • Demonstrate to your readers that you care about them. Talk to them, ask them questions, engage with them on their channels
  • Highlight the tangible benefits of paying attention to you. Showcase your knowledge or expertise, entertain, inspire, encourage or help them deal with a specific situation
  • Show up consistently and appropriately according to the channel’s conventions
  • Give as much as you ask. Be a good literary citizen, be generous and helpful
  • Share relevant information. Think about your audience before you post. What will they like? What will they respond to? So what do then need/want to hear?

In marketing, relationships are everything. In life, relationships are everything. If we want people to pay attention, we need to say things worth paying attention to.

And the best way to do this, whether it’s for platform building, business or getting clicks, is by creating resonance.

Other posts you may like

There's a lot of talk about platform building in the writing world but not a lot of talk about resonance. Yeah, they're kind of the same but also different. 

Platform can be interpreted as a numbers game, which it *is* but also isn't. Resonance is the next level of platform and influence—it's the ripple effect of your message making waves. 

Going viral, if you will.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

How to Respond When People Want to Pick Your Brain for Free

“Hey, can I take you out for coffee and pick you brain? I have a question about freelance writing.”

This is such a common question and I’m sure you’ve been asked it in one way, shape or form at some point in your career.

How to Respond When People Want to Pick Your Brain for Free

In fact, I’ve heard this taught as an actual tactic for learning the business.

In fact, I’ve definitely asked people if I could pick their brain! (And still do sometimes!)

So, is it good to do this? Is it smarmy? Is it somewhere in between?

Hey, can I pick your brain?

Ahh…I guess it’s kind of a grey area.

When we’re just getting started, or trying to figure out how to level up, we need someone who is further along to point us in the right direction.

But if you’re that person who is further along, you’re probably REALLY busy. And you likely get asked this question a LOT.

The answer here, for the asker and the mentor is boundaries.

Because here’s the thing, in the content marketing game, sharing valuable advice and offering free information is important!

And literary citizenship is super important!

But sometimes you need to get paid for your advice.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

Let’s take a quick break from the training so I can remind you about my resource library!

Executing a solid marketing plan comes down to understanding who you serve, what makes you different in the eyes of your ideal client, why that difference matters and what you do.

If you can get solid here, your marketing will flow from there.

I’ve put together a worksheet to help you figure this out. You can grab the free download in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll email you the password, then go to the freelancing section and look for “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

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Alright, let’s talk about boundaries

Where you place your boundary on requests for free advice is different for every entrepreneur. That’s the first thing.

But you should definitely figure out where that line is and draw that line in the sand.

The next step is to maintain that boundary. And yeah, you may feel MEAN but your boundary is there for a reason.

And think about how much you give to your community already, and what this person is asking.

Like, you’re not giving enough already? And you should give to this random person…because they think you should? Because you owe them?

Sometimes giving free advice isn’t the right call at that exact moment in your specific situation. Recognize that and keep your boundaries in place.

How to respond when people want to pick your brain for free

There are gracious and kind ways to declining an invitation when people reach out asking for advice but don’t want to pay for it.

Because you want to treat everyone who reaches out to you with respect as a human.

The goal here is to acknowledge their situation and remind them that you run a business.

Here are a couple suggestions for investing in people without giving into every request to pick your brain.

Hey, can I take you out for coffee and pick your brain?

This first one I would use if I kind of know the person, or if a friend as given them my information and told them to reach out.

And I will note, I often accept these requests if I’m available and it makes sense. But here’s what I’d say if I’m declining.

Response to pick your brain 1/2

Hey friend, so good to hear from you!

I love that you reached out about freelance writing and marketing as it’s an area I’m passionate about. At this point, I’m fully booked through till the end of __________, which means my schedule is pretty tight for coffee meetings.

That said, I’d love to invite you to our next virtual co-working session! I’ve pasted the details below—let me know if you can make it 🙂

Also, I’ve written about this topic before on my blog (link). Hope this is helpful in your situation!

Robyn

PS What’s your Instagram handle? I’d love to connect with you there!


This second one is something I’d use if I have no idea who the person is or if the tone of their request put me off. Like, if it felt demanding or entitled or something.

Response to pick your brain 2/2

Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out! I have a lot of knowledge in the freelance writing and marketing field and would love to see you succeed in this area!

Here’s a little bit about me and my business.

And here is an article I wrote about TOPIC (link). Hope it’s helpful in your situation!

Let me know what you think and let me know if you have any other questions.

Robyn

PS If you’re interested, I will add you to my email list where I share weekly tips and tricks to move you ahead in your freelance business!

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Are you wondering what the right way to ask someone for free advice is? Here’s a helpful article from The New York Times.

"Hey, can I take you out for coffee and pick you brain? I have a question about freelance writing."

This is such a common question and I'm sure you've been asked it in one way, shape or form at some point in your career.

There are gracious and kind ways to respond when people reach out asking for advice but don't want to pay for it.

Because you want to treat everyone who reaches out to you with respect as a human.

The goal here is to acknowledge their situation and remind them that you run a business.

Here are a couple suggestions for investing in people without giving into every request to pick your brain.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Creative Ways to Make Money from Freelance Writing

I want to talk about the different ways you can make money from freelance writing. This is an important topic to me because I see a lot of people limiting their income opportunities because they’re not creative!

Creative Ways to Make Money from Freelance Writing

And I don’t mean this as a slight at all. It just seems like we get stuck in a train of thought where freelance writing can only be one thing.

Like freelance journalism OR copywriting.

While you certainly can scrape out a living from one track of freelancing, most freelance writers I know have a variety of income streams. This can add a lot of variety to your work! Plus this approach can keep your business solvent when one income stream dries up.

Which happens. A lot. You were around in 2020, right?

But maybe you’re just getting into freelancing and you’re not sure where to even start. You know you want to write but…that’s it!

If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want to read this training on personal branding and then work on your positioning so you narrow down what you bring to the table and who you best serve with your skills and abilities.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

I’ve also put together a worksheet to help you figure this out. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password for my resource library.

When you’re there, navigate to the freelancing section and download the “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

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Creative ways to make money from freelance writing

Below I’ve listed several of the ways I make money from freelance writing with a breif description. If I’ve written more on the topic I’ve linked to it in the heading.

There are many, many more creative ways to make a living from freelancing but I hope this initial list will help get the juices flowing! Income diversification. Yeah!

Journalism

Freelance journalism is one of the more popular areas in freelance writing. Even moreso these days with so many newspapers shutting down or merging. However, there’s more to journalism than newspaper!

Reporting is the most common type of journalism, and this can be local news, current events, sports, arts, features, lifestyle and MUCH more. A reporter writes the story as an observer, without inserting themselves into the situation for the most part.

Editorial is another popular type of journalism. You see this type of writing in magazines or the opinion section of papers. These are person-driven, opinion pieces (also known as op-eds) but the writer still needs to be qualified to write the article and it should have mass appeal to get picked up.

Copywriting

While some purist journalists see copywriting as the “dark side” of freelance writing, I would argue a lot of good can be done in this space! And for the most part, copywriting pays more than journalism.

Copywriting is everywhere. You see it on websites, in marketing, for product descriptions, in advertising and much more. If you need the art of persuasion in a piece of writing…it’s probably copywriting.

Businesses often need copywriters, to bring their brand to life and give them a voice that resonates with customers. Freelancers can often find a nice balance of retainer (ongoing) and one-off clients from copywriting.

Ghostwriting

If you’ve heard of ghostwriting (and don’t worry if you haven’t), you probably think of it as authors writing books for someone else. And it’s accurate! This happens all the time. In many cases, a publishing house will hire a writer to write for a celebrity or other public figure to help them tell their story.

But there are more opportunities for ghostwriters!

There are many busy CEOs and thought leaders who want to add a blog, newsletter or social media presence to their content marketing strategy but have no time to make it happen. Ghostwriter to the rescue! You would write in their voice and help them enhance their profile.

Blogging

While there are a zillion benefits to maintaining a personal blog for your business, you can also make a decent income from freelance blogging.

Likely, you’ve heard blogging is dead (or something to that effect). Great! Less competition! Blogging is most definitely not dead and is, in fact, thriving if you find the right niche.

I haven’t written much about freelance blogging but if you’re interested in learning more about it, I recommend Elna Cain’s Freelance Blogging in a Weekend. In this course Elna teaches you her strategy to charge $400 per blog post and shows you how to research and write with maximum efficiency. Highly recommended!

SEO writing

If you’re not familiar with search engine optimization, then you may not want to dive into this until you get a bit of training. This is a specialized area in the writing world as it combines technical know-how with writing skills.

But I think you should get the training!

Businesses need to rank in search engines in order to find customers and they’re too busy doing what they do best to worry about figuring out the details involved with SEO. If you can handle that for them…you will find a nice income stream from SEO writing.

Make money from freelance writing

Writing-adjacent services

I also recommend taking stock of your skills and seeing what services you can offer clients, which are related to writing. For me, these types of services provide a brain break, to allow me to continue working but not burn out from doing one type of writing too much.

Social media management

You can absolutely offer just social media writing for clients, but I like to add a bit more value by also handling management. This can include everything from sourcing images and creating graphics to scheduling posts and managing comments.

Affiliate marketing

This is big in the blogging world but I don’t see traditional freelancers utilizing this income stream as much as I would like.

Essentially, you promote someone else’s product or service and receive a commission for every sale you refer. This can definitely become a bit slimy so it’s important to only promote things you actually recommend (and would even if you didn’t get paid).

If you aren’t familiar with this concept try and pay attention to social media influencers and watch them promote products. Sometimes they’re paid by a brand to advertise a product on their channel and sometimes they’re affiliates for the brand, which is more of a partnership.

Content marketing strategy

Content marketing is everywhere, because every marketing initiative generally requires content! So why not step up your game a bit by offering strategy services to clients? A strong strategy is the framework that holds marketing together. It takes the random buckshot approach and focuses the shot so it’s smart and effective.

If you want to make money from freelance writing, this is a valuable and important service you should consider offering!

Other articles you may enjoy

I want to talk about the different ways you can make money from freelance writing. This is an important topic to me because I see a lot of people limiting their income opportunities because they're not creative!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

5 Popular Digital Marketing Tactics You Should Retire Immediately

If you’re doing business online then you know you need an arsenal of digital marketing tactics in your marketing plan.

But which ones should you use? Which ones work? And what about the kind of smarmy ones…if they work, should you use those too?

5 Popular Digital Marketing Tactics You Should Retire Immediately

There have always been slimy marketing tricks, way before Internet times, and I think those of us with any scruples know enough to stay away from inauthentic tactics.

But in this crowded space—and so many different voices recommending this or that approach—sometimes it’s tough to tell what’s a good idea and what will get you shadowbanned.

While we’re all searching for that magic silver bullet that will solve all of our marketing and promotion problems, there are some things you don’t need to worry about doing any more. And a few you shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

Executing a solid marketing plan comes down to understanding who you serve, what makes you different in the eyes of your ideal client, why that difference matters and what you do.

If you can get solid here, your marketing will flow from there.

I’ve put together a worksheet to help you figure this out. You can grab the free download in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll email you the password, then go to the freelancing section and look for “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Digital marketing tactics that don’t work

Here are a few common digital marketing tactics that may do more damage than good to your brand.

Buying likes and followers

Online popularity feels like a numbers game. And in many ways, it is.

So it stands to reason you’ll be tempted at one point or another to purchase social media followers and/or engagement in order to give yourself a boost.

I think we can all agree this is scammy. Like, super inauthentic. As well, brands and organizations are becoming wise to this digital marketing tactic. It doesn’t take much digging to discover a bloated account these days.

Social media platforms are also cracking down on this behaviour, deleting inactive accounts that could be used for this purpose.

Even though it’s the long, slow, gruelling road, you’re much better off growing your followers organically through engaging content or by using paid advertising. Or both.

Bulk-mailing promotional emails

Now, I’m not talking about sending mass emails to a nurtured email list you’ve cultivated over time.

Those people have opted into your list and have decided they’d like to hear from you.

But some people think it’s OK to randomly add people to their email mailing list who haven’t given them their explicit consent.

Not cool. And, in fact, not legal.

But even if you have consent, while sending out promo email after promo email might seem like an effective strategy, you’ll find most of these end up in people’s junk folder.

Why? Because many spam filters are triggered when more than 200 recipients receive the same email. This is particularly likely to be the case when emailing strangers.

If you’re pitching or querying editors or sending letters of inquiry to businesses, you’re far better off sending personalised emails rather than mass mailing strangers.

Yes it takes more time, but it’s going to get you much farther in the long run.

digital marketing tactics

Keyword stuffing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that can help you gain visibility on search engines and increase leads.

However, there’s a LOT of bad advice on SEO out there and one tactic called keyword stuffing is particularly icky.

This happens when you cram and jam a particular word or phrase you want to rank in search engines for into your web page without any regard for how the copy reads. It’s written for robots, not humans.

That’s backwards.

Repeat after me: We write for humans first, robots second.

Aside from making your pages basically illegible and unreadable, this honestly doesn’t help your ranking either. The robots have caught on to this tactic and when they spot it, your site ranking does in fact take a hit.

One way to avoid practicing smarmy SEO is by investing in an SEO company. A good SEO company knows the rules and works to incorporate keywords naturally.

Overusing of pop-ups

People use pop-ups because they work. Yes they’re annoying, but they work!

However. You can overdo it.

The big idea here is you want to engage your website readers but not annoy them. So yes, you do want to employ some “notice me” tactics but in a polite way.

Use a polite pop-up.

For the best outcome, I suggest triggering pop-ups after visitors have been on your site for a while or just before they leave your site.  

Publishing fake reviews

Reviews are SO important these days. Whether it’s books or drop-ship products, reviews can definitely make or break a sale.

So I understand why it may be temping to bolster your review ranks with a few planted captions.

But…don’t do this. If you get caught there are sometimes big consequences. Even when there are authentic reviews from your friends and family, those reviews can be taken down by sites as they can’t prove you didn’t pay or prompt them for a positive review (it’s rare, but it has happened).

It’s tough out there, but don’t take short cuts.

Having positive reviews will help you to build the trust, but you want to make sure that these reviews are from genuine past clients. Customers are way more savvy than many of us realise and will likely spot a fake review anyway.

If you're doing business online then you know you need an arsenal of digital marketing tactics in your marketing plan. 

But which ones should you use? Which ones work? And what about the kind of smarmy ones...if they work, should you use those too?

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required